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Shalmaneser IV conquered Phoenicia, but was defeated in a naval assault upon Tyre. His successor, Sargon, took Samaria, which had revolted, and carried its people captive to his newly conquered provinces of Media and Gauzanitis. He filled their places with Babylonians, whose king, Merodach-baladan, he had captured, B. C. 709. An interesting inscription of Sargon relates his reception of tribute from seven kings of Cyprus, "who have fixed their abode in the middle of the sea of the setting sun." The city and palace of Khor'sabad' were entirely the work of Sargon. The palace was covered with sculptures within and without; it was ornamented with enameled bricks, arranged in elegant and tasteful patterns, and was approached by noble flights of steps through splendid porticos. In this "palace of incomparable splendor, which he had built for the abode of his royalty," are found Sargon's own descriptions of the glories of his reign. "I imposed tribute on Pharaoh, of Egypt; on Tsamsi, Queen of Arabia; on Ithamar, the Sabæan, in gold, spices, horses, and camels." Among the spoils of the Babylonian king, he enumerates his golden tiara, scepter, throne and parasol, and silver chariot. In the old age of Sargon, Merodach-baladan recovered his throne, and the Assyrian king was murdered in a conspiracy.
B. C. 705-680.
33. His son, Sennach'erib, reëstablished Assyrian power at the eastern and western extremities of his empire. He defeated Merodach-baladan, and placed first an Assyrian viceroy, and afterward his own son, Assarana'dius, upon the Babylonian throne. He quelled a revolt of the Phoenician cities, and extorted tribute from most of the kings in Syria. He gained a great battle at El'tekeh, in Palestine, against the kings of Egypt and Ethiopia, and captured all the "fenced cities of Judah." (2 Kings xviii: 13.) In a second expedition against Palestine and Egypt, 185,000 of his soldiers were destroyed in a single night, near Pelusium, as a judgment for his impious boasting. (2 Kings xix: 35, 36.) On his return to Nineveh, two of his sons conspired against him and slew him, and E'sarhad'don, another son, obtained the crown. His reign (B. C. 680-667) was signalized by many conquests. He defeated Tir'hakeh, king of Egypt, and broke up his kingdom into petty states. He completed the colonization of Samaria with people from Babylonia, Susiana, and Persia. His royal residence was alternately at Nineveh and Babylon.
B. C. 667-617.
34. Under As'shur-ba'ni-pal, son of Esarhaddon, Assyria attained her greatest power and glory. He reconquered Egypt, which had rallied under Tirhakeh, overran Asia Minor, and imposed a tribute upon Gyges, king of Lydia. He subdued most of Armenia, reduced Susiana to a mere province of Babylonia, and exacted obedience from many Arabian tribes. He built the grandest of all the Assyrian
palaces, cultivated music and the arts, and established a sort of royal library at Nineveh.
B. C. 647-625.
35. The reign of his son, Asshur-emid-ilin, called Saracus by the Greeks, was overwhelmed with disasters. A horde of barbarians, from the plains of Scythia, invaded the empire, and before it could recover from the shock, it was rent by a double revolt of Media on the north, and Babylonia on the south. Nabopolassar, the Babylonian, had been general of the armies of Saracus; but finding himself stronger than his master, he made an alliance with Cyax'ares, king of the Medes, in concert with whom he besieged and captured Nineveh. The Assyrian monarch perished in the flames of his palace, and the two conquerors divided his dominions between them. Thus ended the Assyrian Empire, B. C. 625.
36. The THIRD PERIOD was the Golden Age of Assyrian Art. The sculptured marbles which have been brought from the palaces of Sargon. Sennacherib, and Asshur-bani-pal, show a skill and genius in the carving. which remind us of the Greeks. A few may be seen, in collections of colleges and other learned societies in this country. The most magnificent specimens are in the British Museum, the Louvre at Paris, and the Oriental Museum at Berlin. During the same period the sciences of geography and astronomy were cultivated with great diligence; studies in language and history occupied multitudes of learned men; and modern scholars, as they decipher the long-buried memorials, are filled with admiration of the mental activity which characterized the times of the Lower Empire of Assyria.
KINGS OF ASSYRIA.
For the First and more than half the Second Period, the names are discontinuous and dates unknown. We begin, therefore, with the era of ascertained chronology.
A kingdom of mighty hunters and great builders is founded by Nimrod, B. C. 2000. Chaldæa becomes subject, first to Arabian, then to Assyrian invaders, but is made independent by Pul, B. C. 772. The Assyrian monarchy absorbs the Chaldæan, and extends itself from Syria to the Persian mountains. After two hundred years' depression, its records become authentic B. C. 909. Iva-lush and Sammuramit reign jointly over greatly increased territories. The Lower Empire is established by Tiglath-pileser II, whose dominion reaches the Mediterranean. Sargon records many conquests in his palace at Khorsabad. Sennacherib recaptures Babylon and gains victories over Egypt and Palestine. The Assyrian Empire is increased by Esarhaddon, and culminates under Asshur-bani-pal, only to be overthrown in the next reign by a Scythian invasion and a revolt of Media and Babylonia.
37. Little is known of the Medes before the invasion of their country by Shalmaneser II, B. C. 830, and its partial conquest by Sargon, † in 710. They had some importance, however, in the earliest times after the Deluge, for Berosus tells us that a Median dynasty governed Babylon during that period. The country was doubtless divided among petty chieftains, whose rivalries prevented its becoming great or famous in the view of foreign nations.
The student's memory may be aided by some explanation of the long names of the Assyrian kings. They resemble the Hebrew in their composition; and, as in that language, each may form a complete sentence. Of the two, three, or four distinct words which always compose a royal appellation, one is usually the name of a divinity. Thus, Tiglathi-nin "Worship be to Nin" (the Assyrian Hercules); Tiglath-pileser Worship be to the Son of Zira;" Sargon = "The King is established;" Esar-haddon "Asshur has given a brother."
In Babylonian names, Nebo, Merodach, Bel, and Nergal correspond to Asshur, Sin, and Shamas in Assyrian. Thus, Abed-nego (for Nebo) is the "Servant of Nebo;" Nebuchadnezzar means "Nebo protect my race," or "Nebo is the protector of landmarks;" Nabopolassar = "Nebo protect my son "-the exact equivalent of Asshur-nasir-pal in the Assyrian Dynasty of the Second Period.
† See @ 32.